JPMorgan trader refuses to be extradited to U.S. over ‘London Whale’ fraud scandal
A former JPMorgan bank trader arrested in Spain refused Friday to be extradited to the United States where he faces criminal charges in the massive “London Whale” fraud scandal.
Spanish national Javier Martin-Artajo told Spain’s National Court that he did not consent to be extradicted voluntarity to face charges because the crimes he is accused of took place in Britain not in the United States and because he has roots in Spain, a court source told AFP.
“He also asked the judge to request more information about the case from the United States,” the source added.
If the judge requests more information, the United States has 30 days to reply, the source said.
Martin-Artajo is accused of being the senior figure in the 2012 trading scandal involving $6.2 billion (4.6 billion euros) in trading losses at the US banking giant.
US federal prosecutors in August filed criminal charges against Martin-Artajo and another former JPMorgan employee, Frenchman Julien Grout, alleging they kept false records on trades, committed wire fraud and submitted false US securities filings when they worked for the bank in London.
A third ex-JPMorgan banker, French national Bruno Iksil — originally identified as the “London Whale” responsible for the trades — was cleared of criminal responsibility after cooperating with prosecutors.
Spanish police arrested Martin-Artajo Rueda on August 27 on an international warrant and released him on condition that he check in with the National Court every two weeks and remained in Spain pending a ruling on extradition.
The US complaint documents how the London team allegedly falsified financial records after Martin-Artajo was pressured from higher-ups about losses in early 2012.
Martin-Artajo directed underlings to calculate trades and price assets in such a way as to discount the losses, according to the complaint, which cites phone calls and emails.
As a result of the false records, JPMorgan in July 2012 understated losses from its corporate private equity division, which included the London trading operation, by $459 million.
The defendants each face a maximum sentence of 65 years in prison and a fine of at least $5 million.
The debacle led to senior bank resignations, slashed pay for JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon and sparked various government probes.
The case is one of several regulatory headaches still facing JPMorgan. The bank also faces probes on its sale of mortgage-backed securities, among other issues.